OPINION: The reality of the National Party’s moves against preserving koala habitat Opinion by News Of The Area - Modern Media - April 22, 2021 DEAR News Of The Area, I NOTE your article (Coffs Coast News of the Area, 9 April Edition) covering the Government purchase of coastal land at Emerald Beach to protect the habitat of various native species under threat, including koalas. At the announcement the National ‘s member for Coffs Harbour, Mr Gurmesh Singh, declared that, “Buying this land is an important step in conserving our native flora and fauna in the local area.” Just wondering, would this be Mr Singh whose political party last year began eroding the NSW Government’s plan and regulations meant to ensure the proper preservation and protection of koala habitats? In early March 2020 the Nationals made moves to exempt most of NSW from proposed koala protection regulations. When this was opposed, partly by their coalition partners, part of an agreement was that the ‘Planning Secretary’ may approve Local Councils to protect koala habitat. But, the Office of the Planning Secretary sits in the Department of none other than – the National’s leader John Barilaro. In addition to these roadblocks, there are also Coalition discussions which could see stripping council rates exemptions from landholders who currently receive government funding through environmental offset agreements, one of the tools to protect koalas on private land. In view of the above machinations of Mr Singh’s National Party, his words ring hollow – token words for local consumption which belie the reality of the National’s actual moves against preserving koala habitat. Regards, Geoff PRATT, Sawtell.